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Mayday Parade are Warped Tour kingpins; a gateway into the scene for many and a known name for all. Having said that, they still cop it a fair bit. Most recently, the criticism has been about the similarity of their albums. ‘Black Lines’ has killed it in terms of its function as a response to that lash-out, a peak in the perceived flat line.
First to stand out is the blatant heaviness of the record. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not core-heavy, but it is incredibly aggressive. Mayday Parade have defected to the offense, fighting back instead of sonically curling up at the hurt. It starts on ‘One of Them Will Destroy the Other’. Disregarding that its title sounds like the prophecy from Harry Potter, this track brings voice breaks and yelps, a lower tone and a foreboding chorus. Real Friends’ Dan Lambton cameos, but that’s not the highlight; the highlight is the chaos. Homicidal incendiary ‘Hollow’ also rocks up with emotions on the gray scale, banging on about a ‘cold-blooded killer’. ‘All On Me’ is Balance and Composure-esque sad, but also punchy, while ‘Underneath the Tide’ is fiery a la Manchester Orchestra. Even when it isn’t there sonically, angst bleeds in with the album’s attitude, as ‘Just Out of Reach’ sarcastically drops ‘I’m fine, the world can wait a little while’.
While Mayday putting their game-face on is incredibly enjoyable, they do retain an integrous loyalty to their ballad-y approach to songwriting at other points on the album. ‘Letting Go’ slides in with acoustic guitar and a more expected delivery and ‘One Of Us’ is positive and anthemic, chorus harmonies creating a communal feel, a Mayday Parade version of All Time Low’s ‘Missing You’. Most touching are ‘Narrow’ and ‘Look Up and See Infinity, Look Down and See Nothing’, songs soft as whispers that don’t annoy you by breaking their emotion with a conventional pop song comedown.
Mayday Parade have always been about good musicianship, and the consistency of their discography makes the risk that they’ve taken with experimentalism on this album noticeably admirable. ‘Black Lines’ masters loud chaos and soft, weeping calm, and is sure to reign back in your best mate’s mate who told you at a party that he ‘grew out’ of these guys.
1. One Of Them Will Destroy The Other (Feat. Dan Lambton of Real Friends)
2. Just Out Of Reach
4. Letting Go
5. Let’s Be Honest
6. Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology
8. Underneath The Tide
9. All On Me
10. Until You’re Big Enough
11. Look Up and See Infinity, Look Down and See Nothing
12. One Of Us